Hawaii's health department has announced that it will delay naming the state's first medical marijuana dispensary owners while it finishes background checks. (Marina Riker, Associated Press file)

Hawaii delays identifying 1st medical marijuana dispensary owners

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Health says it’s going to delay announcing the names of the first Hawaii medical marijuana dispensary owners.

Officials say they planned to release the names April 15, but are pushing the announcement back two weeks.

The Health Department made a last-minute announcement Friday that it needed all applicants to submit fingerprints for background checks. The department says it’s currently reviewing criminal records, but didn’t get fingerprints from all applicants in time.

Dispensary applicants say a delay in the selection process will only drag on the time it takes for patients to get their medicine and increase the cost to open dispensaries.

Under a law passed in 2015, Hawaii will grant eight licenses for marijuana businesses, each of which can have two production centers and two dispensaries.

Actor and marijuana advocate Woody Harrelson and video game designer Henk Rogers are among 59 Hawaii residents who applied for licenses in January.